Don’t extend tax deal to Sears

Today, I read in the Daily Herald that the state is in discussions with Sears attempting to keep them at their Hoffman Estates campus.

I have lived in the same house in unincorporated Dundee Township for about 26 years. Not long after I moved here, I got to see the state of Illinois give Sears a lot of incentives to move to Hoffman Estates from downtown Chicago, road improvements to Route 72 and the toll road, etc. One of the incentives was a special tax district.

As we are aware, these districts primarily affect the property tax revenue for schools. Since the entirety of Sears lies within the boundaries of Community Unit District 300, the schools are severely affected. The school district has estimated that the impact has been perhaps as much as $14 million per year over 20 years or $280 million.

Guess who has made up that shortfall? The taxpayers of Illinois and primarily the property owners in District 300.

So now 20 years later, Sears is threatening to move out of the state unless they get another 20 years of less property taxes and other incentives.

Are our politicians out of their minds?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if Sears is not given a deal on property taxes and they move, won’t they still be liable for the property taxes on that property at the normal rate?

I guarantee you that if they do move and are paying normal property taxes, they will do everything in their power to find someone else to move into that campus.

It’s time that the politicians in this state quit giving in to corporate welfare and start considering the impact of their decisions on the taxpayers of the state.

Illinois recently gave $100 million to Motorola. If the state is considering anything of that magnitude for Sears, it would mean the total package, not including other incentives, could be in the range of $400 million. Using Sears’ highly inflated figure of 6,000 employees, that means a similar deal will cost the taxpayers of this state nearly $67,000 per job.

Think about it, voters.

Walter O’Brien

Dundee Township